Blocked punt helps Titans take early 13-10 lead

Associated Press
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Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kendall Wright (13) can't make a catch as Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Keenan Lewis (23) defends during the first half of an NFL football game Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Joe Howell)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tim Shaw blocked a punt to set up Jamie Harper's 1-yard run that gave the Tennessee Titans a 13-10 lead over the Pittsburgh Steelers early in the second quarter Thursday night.

The Titans had been one of only two NFL teams without a rushing touchdown — the St. Louis Rams were the other — before Harper's burst on the opening play of the second quarter.

Shaw set up the touchdown by breaking through the middle of the line and blocking Drew Butler's punt on the final play of the first quarter. Jason McCourty recovered at the 1.

Rob Bironas made field goals from 22 and 38 yards in the first quarter for the Titans.

Mike Wallace gave the Steelers a 10-6 lead with an 82-yard touchdown reception.

Wallace beat McCourty on a deep pattern, broke McCourty's tackle attempt at the 30 and sneaked inside the right pylon as safety Michael Griffin tried to push him out of bounds. Wallace lost possession at the end of the play, but replays failed to show whether the ball came loose before he crossed the goal line.

The Titans have allowed at least one first-quarter touchdown in each of their first six games this season.

Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger entered the game with 27,703 yards in career passing, 286 yards shy of Terry Bradshaw's franchise record. This was Roethlisberger's 119th career game. Bradshaw played 168 games from 1970-83.

A Titans offense that had exceeded the 14-point mark in only one of its first five games drove 69 yards on the game's opening possession. The Titans had first-and-goal at the 2 after cornerback Ike Taylor interfered with Damian Williams in the end zone, but the drive stalled from there.

James Harrison sacked Hasselbeck on first-and-goal, and a third-down pass from the 5 went off the hands of a diving Kendall Wright in the right corner of the end zone. Bironas' kick hit the right upright and bounced through to give the Titans their first lead since a 44-41 overtime victory over Detroit on Sept. 23.

The Steelers answered on their opening possession with a 29-yard field goal from Shaun Suisham.

Roethlisberger got the Steelers into field-goal range with a 33-yard completion across the middle to Ike Redman, who dragged a few Titans the last 10 yards on a third-and-6 conversion.

The Steelers were playing without injured strong safety Troy Polamalu (calf) and outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley (hamstring) on defense, and they lost starting center Maurkice Pouncey when he injured his right leg on their first play from scrimmage. Pouncey didn't play the rest of the first quarter, and his return was listed as questionable.

The Steelers were attempting to move above .500 for the first time this season after splitting their first four games. They should have felt right at home in Nashville, as roughly half the fans at LP Field were waving Terrible Towels while dressed in Steeler black-and-gold.

The Titans were seeking to bounce back from a 1-4 start in which each of their losses was decided by at least 21 points.

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